Religion: From Asceticism to Mysticism

December 19th, 2014

This episode discusses a further step in the later rise of full-fledged Sufi orientations within the world of Islam. We encounter the concepts of ma`rifa (intuitive knowledge), fana' (annihilation in God), and baqa' (subsistence), as well as the important figures of Bistami (d.875), al-Junayd (d.910), and al-Hallaj (d.922). 

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Religion: Early Sufism and Asceticism

November 15th, 2014

This episode introduces the tradition of Sufism that some also call Islamic mysticism. We are concerned today with the early period and the practice of zuhd (asceticism). 

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History: Jihad in the Modern World

October 7th, 2014

This episode discusses the struggles of modern Muslims to make sense of the concept of Jihad. We consider the impact of European colonialism and attempt to map a number of ways in which Muslims in the modern world have perceived Jihad up to the present. 

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History: The Jihad Movements

September 26th, 2014

This episode briefly discusses the worldview of the Jihad movements that appeared on the Muslim scene around the 17th and 18th centuries AD. Can we view these movements as, in some ways, precursors to contemporary Jihad movements? The episode particularly highlights the attitude of these movements towards the religious practice of their time and also their drive to establish a "caliphate."   

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Religion: Jihad, War, and Peace

September 6th, 2014

What exactly is Jihad? This episode discusses the traditional doctrine of Jihad that Muslim Jurists developed and takes a brief look at related issues of conflict, peace, and pluralism in the Qur'an and some premodern Muslim legal discourses.  

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Religion: Ijma’ (Consensus) between the Legal and the Political in Islamic Discourses

July 30th, 2014

What does Ijmāʿ (consensus) mean? How does it function within traditional Islamic Law? In what way do the Sunni concept of “ijmāʿ” and the Shīʿī concept of “imām” parallel each other? What are the political dynamics of ijmāʿ?

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Religion: Ijtihad and the Intellectual Struggle to Find God’s Law in Islam

July 23rd, 2014

 The episode discusses the concept of ijtihad that has been used by Muslim jurists to derive legal rulings. We particularly focus on what is known as qiyas and that came to be the most dominant interpretative tool that a mujtahid utilizes in this process.   

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Religion: Hadith Collections

July 7th, 2014

The episode introduces some of the different types of Hadith collections that arose in the world of Islam over the centuries. We discuss the role of Hadith in the transition from Qur'anic discourse to Islamic discourses and learn about sahifas, musannafs, musnads, and the Sahih movement.

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Religion: Hadith and Sunna

June 6th, 2014

Hadith reports attributing sayings and actions to Muhammad came to play a major role in the shaping of the religion of Islam. This episode will discuss some of the classifications of Hadith that Muslim scholars came to adopt after the success of what can be termed the Hadith movement.  

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Religion: The Solidification of Sunni Legal Schools

May 20th, 2014

This episode deals with the institutionalization of the legal field in Sunni Islam and the rise of the four "orthodox" legal schools or madhabs (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafiʿi, and Hanbali).

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